DeWine botched Burdine

Register
Jul 19, 2014

 

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine wants you to believe his investigators did a thorough job reviewing the 2007 death of Craig Burdine at the Sandusky County Jail.

We say don't believe it.

DeWine wants you to believe evidence was fairly and thoroughly presented to a grand jury before it determined last week that there was no wrongdoing leading up to the jailhouse death on Aug. 11, 2007.

We say don't believe it.

The evidence of what happened to Craig Burdine at the Sandusky County Jail never was reviewed, immediately after Burdine's death, or by DeWine's team during the past year.

Local officials refused to conduct an investigation when he died in their custody, suffering from severe injuries and after being Tasered repeatedly by a jail guard.

But the guards, Fremont police officers and EMTs who were eyewitnesses to what happened were never interviewed — never questioned — as part of a criminal investigation, including during DeWine's shallow criminal probe begun in August 2013.

It also appears none of those eyewitnesses pleaded the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, so it's not clear why they weren't subpoenaed by DeWine to testify.

It appears, in fact, that not one involved eyewitness was called before DeWine's grand jury during 10 weeks of hearings. The people who did testify were primarily the same local law enforcement officials who refused to do a criminal investigation in the first place, DeWine's investigators, and others with no first-hand knowledge of what occurred when Burdine died.

They all talked with each other, it seems, and conjectured what happened without seeing it, or ever talking to anyone who actually saw what happened.

It appears from this vantage point — plain and clear — that DeWine's probe proved to be nothing more than a pretend investigation based on and designed to support the previous “official story” any way it could.

This was DeWine's third Sandusky County grand jury in as many years probing alleged wrongdoing by local law enforcement; it was the third that finished without any indictments.

We understand why Jess Burdine, Craig's father, and Mike and Shannon Limberios, whose son's death investigation in 2012 was similarly botched and degrading by local officials and DeWine, continue fighting for their sons.

We understand why the families of other crime victims in Sandusky County with similar stories have filed multiple lawsuits or lodged other complaints alleging misconduct by the sheriff and the Fremont police, the county prosecutor and the coroner. We understand why they are petitioning Gov. John Kasich asking for action. 

The leadership of each county agency has looked away from their individual and shared responsibilities, the families contend, and failed to hold themselves and their staffs accountable to the public.

DeWine told another newspaper it wasn't his job to hold them accountable, either.

“It is only up to the voters of the county to make a determination as to whether their elected officials are performing their duties or not performing their duties,” he said last week, after the Burdine grand jury no-billed the investigation. “They’re the ones who have to make those judgments."

That's true for DeWine, too, in his re-election bid against Democrat David Pepper, and what every voter should consider when they cast ballots this fall. 

It's not about Party, it's about performance. 

•••

Watch Jess Burdine — LIVE — on Between the Lines at noon Thursday at sanduskyregister.com and with anytime demand viewing after the program. 

 

Comments

Laughingatwttb

Can you clarify who " we " is? You do not know exactly what was presented and what wasn't. You were also a strong voice when it came to Dr. Baden testifying. You advocate for a person who was not an eyewitness and are quick to point out the lack of eyewitnesses. How can you have it both ways? There were problems with this since day one, there's no question about that. The problem I have is this happened more than 7yrs ago. And you would want people to try to remember facts and circumstances from that long ago, with the possibility of their testimony being used against them. It just doesn't work that way. They are protected from self incrimination and no amount of finger pointing or ridicule will change that. The civil case was dismissed due to lack of evidence or anything that would support the families claim. The burden of proof, as I understand it, is far less in a civil case than a criminal one. So if I'm right then there wasn't enough to pursue a criminal case. I'm not sure what else can be done but at some point the whole idea of cover ups and conspiracies will need to stop. There's just no evidence that would suggest to someone that the Feds or the state of Ohio would be involved in a cover up in the tiny town of Fremont or Sandusky county. Rumors are not evidence and neither are opinions.

Please

The article says "it appears, in fact" and "they all talked with eachother, its seems" and "it also appears" and "it appears from this vantage point-plain and clear". Why sooooo many "appears" and "seems", included with "fact" and "plain and clear". How can they seem to talk to each other.......and plain and clear is not from anyone's vantage point.....plain and clear is from everyone's vantage point, if it is plain and clear. RUBBISH! thought I was reading TMZ

Matt Westerhold

Thanks Please. There doesn't seem to be any eyewitness account anywhere from any criminal investigation as to what happened. That means nobody with first-hand information was questioned. Everything, therefore, is conjecture, except for what can be seen in the undamaged portions of the video because no questions were ever asked in any investigation. Craig Burdine is in a semi-conscious, or unconscious state from moments after the encounter with police begins through every frame of the video. He is not combative. Information in written statements from the officers and guards prepared immediately after Burdine died appears inaccurate when contrasted to the video images and sound. The newsroom will work to get the video posted here at sr.com soon. 

gene44870

Matt . I have news for you as well as your readers . And that is the only eveidence that can be presented to the grand jury as well as a jury trial is eveidence . Thats what is making me wander about every investigation that has taken place . I am thinking that if the AGs aloud heresay and conjector and not hard eveidence then one would think it make any true bill null and void .maybe I am wrong . But it seems to me that this grand jury was a waste of time and money .

thinkagain's picture
thinkagain

Just a suggestion, when writing a comment, any misspelled word will have a red squiggly line underneath. Right click that line, then left click the correct spelling.

eveidence – evidence
heresay – hearsay
conjector – conjecture

You’re on your own when it comes to homophones and close sounding words.

wander - wonder
aloud - allowed

Julie R.

That's a crock of pure bullsh*t DeWine's claim that it's not up to him to hold public officials accountable and it's up to the voters to make that decision. That's the very same thing that more than worthless Richard Cordray said, only they forget to mention that these corrupt sorry excuse public officials never have anybody run against them.

Laughingatwttb

What evidence do you have of corruption? I'm going to assume not one single shred other than your opinion. But if you do have some, please share it with the rest of us.

JoeSchmoe84

So... a dead, beaten, tazed while restrained man, and no investigation by local officials, equals no evidence of corruption? The dead body with crushed wind pipe is no evidence of corruption? Maybe you should have said " not a smidgeon"

Laughingatwttb

His wind pipe was not crushed and he wasn't tased while restrained. That's what was found to be the truth by the US district court of appeals and the GJ. I could be wrong but that still doesn't amount to corruption. If you are right then it could amount to a charge of dereliction of duty, but not corruption.

JoeSchmoe84

"...that still doesn't amount to corruption.... maybe dereliction of duty, but not corruption."
Really? Murder is not corruption?? Lying about plans of investigation into the death is not corruption? Not conducting an investigation into the death is not corruption? How does someone die in custody, and there is no investigation?
I'm sure in your opinion murder is way too harsh a word, but what would it be considered if this death were at the hands and supervision of an "ordinary" citizen?

Babo

Not to mention the fact that dereliction of duty is a crime and therefore a form of public corruption.

Laughingatwttb

Reaching aren't ya?

Babo

No. Unlike you I'm not small minded.

Laughingatwttb

Yeah because your response says differently. Nice try babo.

Julie R.

What evidence do I have of corruption? How about common sense? Add on the fact that not even one of the involved eyewitnesses was called before the grand jury during 10 weeks of hearing, it doesn't really take a rocket scientist to figure it out.

Once again, the "evidence" is called good old-fashioned common ordinary sense. Why these worthless public officials think people can't see right through the crap they pull off is beyond me.

Julian

So you're saying the grand jury didn't have common sense?

Laughingatwttb

Like I said opinions don't amount to evidence. Your common sense statement is much like your opinion and doesn't amount to facts.

Julian

Ah, and the conspiracy theories continue

my oh my

So all that protesting around the courthouse during these proceedings did what lol???If and a big if had this went the other way Mike DeWine would have been a hero right????

gene44870

Its insane to think that anyone is going to get a fair shake in todays justice system . You have Lawyers investigating lawyers and police investigating police . This system we have is not working and only protects the one that violate it .

Please

MATT- I understand what you are saying, but you didn't address anything about what I wrote. You even say it in your response...."no questions were even asked"! No questions? I am sure at least one question was asked to someone! No questions means not one single question was asked to one single person. Not true. And if there weren't any questions asked, how can you put the words "in fact" and "plain and clear" and "they all talked to each other, it SEEMS". You are making one sided assumptions with no proof, there may be no proof, but you write it as if there is by using these words. And yes I understand this is an opinion article, but you are using, so called, facts from the case to attempt to persuade your readers into believing these are truths, when they are not by using these words.

Matt Westerhold

Thanks Please. I think you asked why the words "appear" and "seem" were used in this editorial, and the answer I attempted to communicate is that what happened to Craig Burdine inside the county jail is all conjecture. The most reliable information is from the undamaged portions of the surveillance video, and it disputes the written statements provided by the guards and officers immediately after Burdine died. Since no eyewitness was questioned in the course of any investigation there is no way to resolve the difference in the statements and the video except to conjecture.

The New World Czar

SR => Obsessed => Ratings & Revenue

Matt Westerhold

New World Czar => Assumes => Misunderstands

ContraryAnn

Am I mistaken in thinking the Grand Jury has the legal authority to request/require specific witnesses be called?

Please

They can request, but no one....no one HAS to testify. And Julie R....if somone said you did something that you did not do, would you try to win that battle by yourself? I would hope you would be smart enough to get an attorney, and he/she would tell you not to say a word.....that is what happened in this case. They all got attorneys and were not going to say a word.....conspiracy? Just invoking their constitutional rights! Just like I hope you or the employees of the SR would! Not a conspiracy, just their rights:)

Babo

Interesting that only law enforcement get to have legal representation BEFORE they are asked any questions in a criminal investigation. Everybody else gets questioned and then invokes their right to counsel if they suspect the state is trying to charge them with a crime. In this case the Grand jury was supposed to conduct the investigation but it looks like they never were told that they had the right to subpoena the eyewitnesses and ask them questions.

sash

That's a completely erroneous statement. Every citizen in this country can have legal representation at any time before, during or after questioning. Any citizen, in a non-custodial position, can decline to be interviewed by an agent of the State. The only question every citizen is required to answer to is that of their identity.If the individual is then taken into custody, they are Mirandized, and can answer questions or not. An individual can only be compelled to answer questions, as a material witness, after a judge has determined that their Fifth Amendment protections will not be violated by the specific questions being asked.

Babo

Sure, but the rest of us do not receive a heads up that the investigation is coming, are subjected to enormous pressure, and the government does not pay for our lawyers until AFTER we are arrested. The rest of us, if involved in an alleged criminal conspiracy, will find ourselves and our co conspirators subjected to pressure such as promises of deals to help break the case.

Again, a Grand jury is an investigating body just like Congress and they have every right to request people appear for questioning. At that time if the witness wants to invoke the fifth amendment the witness can just as in any investigative hearing, but you don't get to object to the issuance of the subpoena in the first place.

An example of the above is the investigation by Congress into the IRS. The witness has to show up and invoke the right, the witness can't go running to a judge to avoid answering the questions prior to appearance before the investigating body.

sash

Seriously Babo? The SR gave them the "heads up," not the AG's office. If you have evidence that the government is paying for their lawyers, I'd like to see it. The city and county would have supplied legal counsel during the civil lawsuit because they were being sued as representatives of the city and county, but that protection doesn't extend to an individual facing criminal proceedings. And yes, you do get to object to the issuance of a subpoena, they get quashed every day. A subpoena is issued, the attorney objects and the presiding judge determines if compelling a witness to appear MAY jeopardize their Fifth Amendment protections. Rather than harping on the non-issuance of subpoenas, the SR should ask some defense attorneys if there was a snowball's chance of subpoena being upheld. It is the State's job to prove guilt, not a citizen's responsibility to prove their innocence.

Babo

A grand jury is not a trial proceeding to determine the guilt of a charged person but an investigatory proceeding to determine facts and whether those facts merit charges. You are applying criminal trial standards of an accused to an investigatory body. How do you explain the fact that subpoenas are issued to witnesses (other than the defendant) in criminal and civil cases and the witness must appear and assert his or her right not to answer a question that incriminates them. If their answer does not incriminate them, i.e. they are merely fact witnesses, they have to answer.

Under your standard no crimes could ever be investigated or tried because eyewitnesses could refuse to ever appear at trial or the grand jury simply by asserting the Fifth Amendment in advance. Congress could not inquire into anything, as could no other adjudicatory board, commission, or agency.

sash

It's an investigative body to determine if a crime has been committed and to issue indictments. I am not applying the standards, the Supreme Court has applied the standards. Your constitutional protections are not limited to a criminal trial. A witness may declare the Fifth on the stand when asked a particular question and the judge will make a determination if the Fifth is applicable. However, you are talking about a witness, not a defendent nor the target of a criminal investigation. No one can be forced to testify against themselves.
The standards set by our Constitution and Supreme Court, not me, says that the State must be able to prove their case without coercing or forcing an individual to testify against themselves. When is the last time you saw a defendent ordered to testify at their trial? The answer is never, because it is unconstitutional. No citizen in this country has to prove their innocence, nor assist the State in their prosecution. A witness and a target of investigation or defendent are entirely different things. A witness is not the subject of a criminal investigation or on trial so Fifth Amendment protection would only come up if questioning "tripped" into possible criminal action. And yes, the Fifth Amendment protects citizens whether the agent of the State is a police officer, a prosecutor, a Senator or the President.

Babo

There were no "targets" in the Burdine case, just witnesses because no investigation had taken place. Please provide me the citation to a case from SCOTUS holding that a Grand Jury cannot issue subpoenas to fact witnesses as part of its investigation into criminal activity.

Again, you are confusing the standards of a trial (where I agree a defendant cannot be forced to take the stand at all) with an investigatory hearing where a body is engaged in fact finding. The Grand Jury issues the subpoena and the fact witness appears and answers questions until a question arises that "may incriminate him" at which time he invokes the Fifth Amendment.

Laughingatwttb

Then why was the SR reporting that no criminal charges came from this GJ? It must've been a criminal inquiry then right?

Babo

It was a criminal INQUIRY not a criminal TRIAL. The right to not be compelled to testify at all only applies to a Defendant at a criminal trial, and does not apply to any investigatory body such as a Grand Jury or Congress. These bodies have the right to issue subpoenas to any person with information related to the purpose of the investigation. The person must appear and answer any questions unless a particular question may incriminate him at which time he invokes the Fifth amendment right against self incrimination.

sash

If the police pull you in for questioning, you are not on trial either, but you have the right to remain silent and not answer their questions! Your Constitutional protection covers any questioning that ties or connects you to a crime. I don't know that SCOTUS has ever ruled on GJ proceedings but I'll check for specifics. Otherwise, you can check out code of conduct, ethics and google lower court decisions. But seriously, you want to see people indicted because they can be made to "look" guilty for exercising their constitutional rights, rather than based on evidence? That is the only reason to force people to take the Fifth in front of a Grand Jury and why it is considered unethical and an abuse of power.

Babo

You agree that the police have the right to bring someone in for questioning. The grand jury is no different. The Grand Jury (not the prosecutor) has the right to bring in people for questioning to answer questions about the acts to which the Grand Jury is inquiring. However, unlike the police the Grand Jury has the right to issue process to compel the appearance.

Nobody has the right to refuse to appear at all before the Grand Jury. Once they are before the Grand Jury a person if a question might implicate them invokes the Fifth Amendment just as any person being questioned by police may invoke the Fifth Amendment. But unlike a criminal trial where a person is already charged, a person does not have the right to not be called to the stand at all.

I am not seeking to have people indicted because they "look guilty" for exercising their constitutional rights but to have the best evidence made available to the Grand Jury. You are the one ASSUMING the police officers, jail officers and EMT's will invoke. If events happened as they stated in their reports there would be no reason to invoke. However, the Grand Jury should have called these eyewitnesses in order to have them explain their written statements and their deposition testimony. You know that if an eyewitness is available this is the best evidence of what occurred and written documents cannot and should not be offered as evidence of what transpired if the eyewitness is available.

The Code of Conduct and Ethics rules do not apply to the Grand Jury the entity that has the authority and duty to inquire into crime in the county. Moreover, I can not find a single court case anywhere in the country that permits a person that is an eyewitness to events being reviewed by a Grand Jury to object to process issued by that grand jury in advance of being summoned.

Let me know when you find that case from SCOTUS stating otherwise, but in the meantime I maintain that the AG interfered with the Grand Jury's right to hear testimony from eyewitnesses to the acts that the Grand Jury was investigating and that the Grand Jury did not receive the best evidence available and necessary to inquire into the custodial death of Craig Burdine in violation of federal law.

sash

There are too many cases to list them all, but I'll give you a couple that encapsulate the general ideas and legal standards I've been trying to explain. And before you point out that some are State case outside of Ohio, keep in mind that they stood up to Federal appeal and later SCOTUS or SCOTUS choose not to review. As you know, SCOTUS will only take a case if there is a substantial constitutional question, or to clarify a constitutional question when the Appeals Courts are giving conflicting decisions. The State and Appeals courts have been consistant for the most part with only a few highly unusual or egregious decisions being taken up by SCOTUS. U.S. v Williams - "The Grand Jury cannot compel the appearance of witnesses...and must appeal to the court when such compulsion is required." "...the court will refuse to lend its assistance when the compulsion the Grand Jury seeks would override rights accorded by the Constitution or testimonial privileges recognized by the common law." U.S. v Enterprise - "Grand Juries are not licenced to engage in arbritary fishing expeditions." Grand Juries..."are free to subpoena anyone but must proffer to court valid reason to overcome the presumption that putative defendents should not be subpoenaed to Grand Jury" Obiter dictum supports the notion that the prosecutor should not have leeway to potentially taint grand jurors. Ohio v Reiner- Ohio Supreme Court ruled initially that the witness in the case did not have a valid 5th Amendment claim because she was only a witness and was not subject to criminal prosecution. The Supreme Court overturned that decision saying that even if the prosecutor had determined that the witness hadn't engaged in criminal behavior, the witness had "reasonable cause to apprehend danger from the answers..." because of accusations being made by others. U.S. v Mandujano - Anyone subpoenaed retains privilage against self incrimination. U.S. v Hubbell- This was a really interesting and complex case with Ken Starr as the Independent Counsel when they were going after Clinton. Starr subpoenaed Hubbell to the Grand Jury and after Hubbell plead the 5th, Starr produced a court order compelling his cooperation with immunity. Starr later tried to prosecute and SCOTUS tossed the entire thing with prejudice. A large part of the decision was based on 5th Amendment protections in front of a grand jury. They were adamantly clear that the protection from self-incrimination applies not only to testimony, but also work product and that the witness cannot be compelled to answer questions meant to elicit evidence against the defendant. There are tons more, but court decisions have been consistent on all levels.

Babo

In the cases you cite there was a prior criminal investigation and the person was a known "target" of the grand jury investigation. That's not the case in this situation. e.g. Grand Juries..."are free to subpoena anyone but must proffer to court valid reason to overcome the presumption that putative defendents should not be subpoenaed to Grand Jury" . There are no putative defendants in this case as there was no criminal investigation.

Also, you are citing for the most part federal cases involving federal grand juries. Give me a case from a federal court holding that a state grand jury can not issue process to question witnesses relevant to an investigation consistent with its authority under state law. Also, note your Reiner cases do not involve a witness invoking the Fifth Amendment before the Grand Jury but at criminal trial and the prosecutor not the grand jury issued process.

Finally I'm not stating that the eyewitnesses do not have the right to invoke the Fifth Amendment in front of the Grand Jury but that if you are going to use their prior written statements as evidence you must question them about those events as their knowledge is clearly relevant. The fact the state offered the statements demonstrates the state does not believe them to be culpable and there is no reason for them not to testify about the events.

sash

No Babo. You obviously didn't bother to read the cases or decisions or more importantly the legal reasoning and precedents used to make those decisions. You do realize that when a State Supreme Court is appealed, it goes to the Federal Courts for a decision? A constitutional decision, even if made in the Federal Courts, applies to All courts and ALL states because they must abide by the U.S. Constitution. There are more than enough cases in Ohio and the 6th District Court of Appeals if you would care to do your homework and research, but I've read enough. I'm not arguing this anymore because you've decided that the law is what you think it should be, rather than what the courts say it is.

Babo

LOL, you cite to cases that concern trial immunities and rights rather than state Grand Jury investigations and you tell me I'm the one that thinks the law is what I think it should be?

You've forgotten the most important government criminal policy of all..that the justice system is supposed to seek truth and do justice. How can you possibly argue that there was any attempt to determine the truth when the eyewitnesses to the events were not questioned?

Babo

Did you actually read any of the cases you cited?

US V. Enterprise does not apply to subpoenas for witness testimony but for production of documents. http://supreme.justia.com/cases/... The Court did state that a Grand Jury's subpoena powers are far broader that a trial court but that there are some limits on it, i.e. there must be some showing that the materials are relevant to the investigation.

Thus, if the written statements were relevant to the investigation and clearly they were as they were given to the Grand Jury; the Grand Jury had every right to request the appearance of the authors of those written statements, i.e the eyewitnesses.

Also here's the link to U.S. v. Mundujano 425 US 564 (1976). http://www.ecases.us/scotus/ywW/...

The case supports every one of my contentions and one has to question why you are intentionally misrepresenting decisions from the SCOTUS to run interference for SCLE. There is no way a legally trained person would completely misread this decision which also references U.S v Kastigar 406 US 441-443 and U.S v Calandra 414 US 338-414 landmark grand jury cases from SCOTUS.

Some key excerpts from the case:

Investigative power of grand jury must be broad if the public responsibilities of the GJ are to be adequately discharged

Indispensible to the exercise of the grand jury's power is the authority to compel the attendance and testimony of witnesses (citing Kastigar).

The public (grand jury) has a right to every man's evidence. US v Nixon 418 US 683.

The witness cannot refuse to appear and must invoke the privilege as the Constitution does not forbid the asking of questions. Absent invoking the privilege, the duty to give testimony is absolute.

This case actually ended up in a reversal by SCOTUS as the putative defendant who was called by the grand jury as was their right, was given sufficient warning to invoke the Fifth Amendment on questions that may have incriminated him. In other words, the Grand Jury had the right to call and question someone who might be involved in criminal activity as long as the person is provided notice of their right to not incriminate themselves. Unlike police interrogations which are much more coercive there is no absolute right to remain silent and refuse to answer all questions regardless of their nature.

Thus the cases you cite all stand for the right of the grand jury to call any witnesses relevant to the scope of their investigation and the witness must invoke the right against answering questions that may incriminate him but he must answer any other questions. The last case goes onto to discuss how it is often necessary to subpoena witnesses who are less than upstanding citizens with something to hide in order to effectively investigate corruption type crimes.

OakieHarbor

Being a supporter of the Burdine cause I have to admit, many of the accusations were proven false. The mug shot, the EKG tape.I can completely understand the initial denial and being suspect of anything from these officials. However there is not enough supporting evidence of criminal wrong doings, after all they would need to prove that guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
In the civil courts realm the burden of proof is much ,much less.
I don not think Craig deserved to die wile in the custody of the sheriff's dept. Craig needed protected from himself when he was unable to do it in his own best interests. Did his actions have a role in the blame,? of course it did!
It is very sad Craig was unable to get the treatment needed for the various mental health issues exasperated by drug use/abuse!
If anything positive can come from this hopefully it will come in change in protocol and training of officers and deputies, allowing more humane treatment for those suffering from mental health disorders. Enabling options for the authorities so a sleeping man may not have his arm severed after being stunned awake by a flash bang and melee of semi-automatic gunfire. Leaving a naked young woman in the throes of a mental episode and coached along to preform sexual acts upon herself for the gratification of a couple perverse deputies. Although there is some serious break down in professional ethics, it has yet to rise to the level of provable criminal charges. Provable!
The tax payers of Sandusky County need remember these dereliction of duty and demand they are accountable and ultimately voted out within the democratic process our society is based.

sash

"It also appears none of those eyewitnesses pleaded the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, so it's not clear why they weren't subpoenaed by DeWine to testify." I am really not sure if this is naive or disingenuous. Do you really mean to imply that constitutional protections aren't in effect unless you state or claim them? Can the police search your home on a whim if you're not there to claim your Fourth Amendment protection? Or can the government park soldiers in your house when you're on vacation since you weren't there to claim your Third Amendment protection? No one has to claim a constitutional right in order to exercise their constitutional right. An agent of the state who tramples civil liberties will be called out for their abuse of power, but then the AG's office and BCI agents get called out for not ignoring constitutional rights and protections and following the law and professional ethics. A rather interesting dichotomy when the abuse of power is corrupt and evil unless utilized in support of your position. Guilty unless proven innocent. I would expect that argument to be made somewhere like Afghanistan, not in the U.S.

OakieHarbor

Yes the police can "potentially" search your property WITHOUT a signed warrant. It is called exigent circumstances.

sash

Those exigent circumstances do exist, but you're missing the point of my post. Your Constitutional rights exist at all times, whether you are verbally proclaiming them or not. Without those exigent circumstances, the police would never be allowed to claim that a search was legal because the home owner wasn't there to claim Fourth Amendment protection.

OakieHarbor

you posed the question, "Can the police search your home on a whim if you're not there to claim your Fourth Amendment protection?"
and I answered there actually is a way for that to happen. most people have no clue what exigent circumstances are and how they could potentially effect them.

Ctwhalers

Some of you crack me up. You sit here and say no evidence. Well if you saw the videos I saw you would say something different. The mug shots they show where the same with different years why? The grand jury was only given what the ag office wanted them to see or hear. Even after 7 years those officers remember more than you know. They might miss a few things but they remember most of it especially if someone is killed while you are there. The grand jury and ag office can say what they want but us that where outside of courthouse that rallied know the truth. Hope you people wake up before it happens to you. Babo knows what she is talking about. The register is doing a great job on these stories cause then other familys have something like this happen they know they will help find answers and the truth unlike Fremont messenger.

sash

The Grand Jury members viewed the video and apparently disagree with your view point. The picture released was explained. And what possible motive would there have been to dress a dead man to take a picture, then undress him for the emt's? Some of the accusations don't make any sense at all. What they may or may not remember doesn't even matter. The accused in our country do not have to prove their innocence, the state has to prove their guilt. What evidence was withheld ftom the jury? What evidence was there that would prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a crime occured? Proof, not supposition.

JoeSchmoe84

He who gathers the evidence and proof may also be very good at hiding it.

sash

Ahh, of course. The lack of evidence is proof of guilt. With that thinking, we should be executing people based on suspicion.

JoeSchmoe84

I'm glad you fancy yourself to be a mind reader, but I was not thinking that, nor did I insinuate it. Apparently, some people are already being executed based on suspicion. Unarmed and without a trial. It happens way too often already in this country. From the president and his drones right on down to local law enforcement. Read the national news, it's a real and serious problem.

Babo

Ahh..but you assume the eyewitnesses not called are guilty of some unstated crime which is why you claim they could not be called before the grand jury because they would incriminate themselves.

sash

Not at all Babo. You are the one making the assumption that anyone smart enough to protect themselves must be guilty of a crime. I have stated clearly that only a first class fool would have been willing to cooperate with this GJ after everything they've been accused of by the family, paper and public.

Babo

Again, what is their basis for objecting to being summoned and questioned by the grand jury when the grand jury is charged with investigating crime (not prosecuting) in the county. They were eyewitnesses to the events being investigated.

sash

Police are investigators not prosecutors, and you still have constitutional protection. They may have been eyewitnesses, but they were also the only suspects to a possible crime. Trying to pretend that they, and their actions, weren't what was being investigated would have been unethical and unconstitutional.

Babo

Nonsense. The Grand Jury like the police have every right to bring in eyewitnesses to the acts being investigated and ask them questions because they too are investigators not prosecutors. Just as it is not unethical or unconstitutional for the police to bring someone in for questioning who is an eyewitness to certain actions and have that person invoke the Fifth; it is not unethical or unconstitutional for the Grand Jury to act as the police do in investigations.

The Grand Jury like the police are not bound by the ethics rules of prosecutors who DO NOT INVESTIGATE CRIME like the police and Grand juries but prosecute it. You are extending to the government employees who happened to be eyewitnesses to the acts being reviewed, rights that nobody else receives in any other investigation.

Laughingatwttb

This is the point the nay sayers start grasping for straws. 3 different times the evidence has been reviewed and all 3 times the claims were dismissed. How many more times can the same evidence be reviewed before all this corruption and conspiracy crap stops?

JoeSchmoe84

I would guess it will stop right around the time people stop dying for "excited delerium" when, and ONLY when, in police custody.

Laughingatwttb

Do some research on it. It's NOT only when in police custody. It DOES happen outside of the LE community. That's a fact

JoeSchmoe84

Please provide me with those statistics, and a link to back that up.
Meanwhile, I would like to propose a few questions:
What is the percentage of "excited delirium" being a cause of death related to law enforcement vs. not related to law enforcement?
Why was this more frequently used as a cause of death in the 2000s, for almost a decade, when there was an unexplained, law enforcement involved death, before being officially recognized as a cause of death by the AMA in 2009?
Why does the increased frequency of this cause of death seemingly coincide with the beginning of the heavy use of tasers?
Why is it that almost any internet search on "excited delirium" links to articles concerning law enforcement, not only as a cause of death, but also as advertisement for training seminars, but very rarely any other reason?
Coincidence?
Facts please, not opinion.

sash

I can't provide links because I don't have my laptop and notes, but I can send you in the right direction. First, there is no national statistic or accounting of ExDs in relation to whether it occured in custody or not. There are numerous studies and research that look at particular cities, states or provinces that give you a pretty good idea. The numbers covered a wide range with in custody deaths on the high end around 80% and the lowest was around 10%. It may seem that all deaths are in police custody, but it's probably because the evening news isn't going to report possible nurse brutality when they die in the hospital. I suggest reading the American Academy of Emergency Physicians White Paper on Excited Delirium. I used their references as a starting point for my research and the U.S. National Library of Medicine. I stuck mostly to medical research and ignored articles or opinion pieces by people who have a dog in the fight. ExDs, like SIDS, is an exclusionary diagnosis and some of the increase is attributed to increased awareness and acceptance. It's actually been diagnosed since the 1800's, but called a variety of names. They seem to actually have a pretty good idea of what happens, but the " trigger" that starts the event, like SIDS, is still a puzzle. Hope this gives you a starting point.

Babo

The Grand jury discarded the theory of "excited delirium" and went with a third theory as cause of death.

sash

Shades of grey. He skipped the "controversial" aspect and went to the end result. Excited Delirium covers a broad spectrum and accounts for the initial trigger event or actions and Excited Delirium Syndrome used for the extreme cases that lead to respiratory distress/failure, abnormal heart rhythm, cardiac arrest. He simply ignored the signs indicating ExDs and concentrated on the heart impairment, which put him at increased risk for sudden cardiac arrest, along with the stimulant drug and physical exertion.

Babo

No, his ruling is designed to avoid the liability for not taking him to the ER prior to incarceration as "delirium" is a medical emergency regardless of cause, and the video proves he was not combative and under restraint so there was no reason not to take him to the ER.

sash

Shades of grey. He skipped the "controversial" aspect and went to the end result. Excited Delirium covers a broad spectrum and accounts for the initial trigger event or actions and Excited Delirium Syndrome used for the extreme cases that lead to respiratory distress/failure, abnormal heart rhythm, cardiac arrest. He simply ignored the signs indicating ExDs and concentrated on the heart impairment, which put him at increased risk for sudden cardiac arrest, along with the stimulant drug and physical exertion.

Babo

Hmm, so now you're a qualified physiologist too? If he agreed with Beissner, he would have stated as much. Delirium is caused by excessive amounts of cathecholamines one of which is epinephrine or more commonly known as Adrenalin. Both state his heart stopped but use different rationales on why it stopped. Both also ignore the fact that the evidence indicates he stopped breathing PRIOR to his heart stopped pumping. If his heart stops for whatever reason while he is still breathing he would not turn blue. The evidence indicates he turned blue while restrained, stopped breathing and that's what ultimately caused his heart to stop.

Julie R.

If the eyewitnesses to what happened were never interviewed or questioned, why did they even bother with this idiot dog & pony show. I'm going to write DeWine and tell him he's turning out to be as worthless as that clown Richard Cordray was.

As an afterthought, I'm also going to tell him he best be getting into corrupt Erie County next.

Lil DAB

Florence Nightingale

The grand jury had the eyewitnesses' depositions in the civil case to review, didn't they?

Babo

Yes, but in preparing for depositions in a civil case, a witness is coached by their attorney and represented during the deposition by counsel. That isn't the case in criminal investigations. Similarly, because there was no criminal investigation, eyewitnesses' written statements could be coordinated and evidence destroyed to prevent exposure of what really happened.

One of the allegations by the family was that there was an alleged criminal conspiracy to "cover up" what really happened and that eyewitnesses' written statements and later deposition testimony were coordinated in furtherance of the conspiracy and to avoid liability for the death.

If one believes the written statements and deposition testimony to be true there is no basis for the AG NOT to subpoena them to testify before the grand jury as fact witnesses so that the Grand Jury may question them about their prior statements. If the reason for not issuing process is they might incriminate themselves, (e.g. they were involved in the death or they falsified written statements or lied under oath in prior proceedings) then the AG and State are ADMITTING that there was a cover-up by its failure to subpoena them or work out deals for testimony of alleged co conspirators.

This grand jury was never charged with targeting any particular individual but to inquire into the death of Craig Burdine. Without subpoenaing the eyewitnesses to events and hearing their testimony, the Grand Jury did not fully examine all evidence. Furthermore, since nobody was named as a target of the Grand Jury it is ludicrous legally speaking to assert the eyewitnesses could not be compelled to appear before the grand jury and answer questions up until they might incriminate themselves as the right not to be compelled to testify at all (take the stand) only applies at a criminal trial. The Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate oneself must be asserted from the stand in all others cases AFTER being called to testify and answering factual questions that do not incriminate oneself.

Thus, the only possible reason the AG's office did not allow the Grand Jury to hear from eyewitnesses is that the office did not honor its duty to seek the truth. The fact that eyewitnesses were not subpoenaed indicates to me that the AG's office is now complicit in the alleged criminal conspiracy to obstruct justice in the investigation of the death of Craig Burdine in police custody in violation of federal law.

Julie R.

So much for the AG's office. So much for DeWine who claimed he was going to put a stop to corruption.

Florence Nightingale

I find it amazing that people are so willing to believe that everyone, every single LE officer present and even the EMS workers, not only lied but coordinated those lies and have been in perfect agreement, for seven years, to "cover this up". I just don't buy it. And Sash has already addressed the subpoena issue far better than I could.

Babo

You're right, there has never been a case in the history of the United States where a bunch of high level government workers including the Attorney General of the United States lied and coordinated their stories to cover up a minor crime such as a burglary/break in at a hotel/office complex; so there is no way a bunch of entry level government workers would ever lie and coordinate their stories to cover up a custodial death/homicide. [Sarcasm off]

As to the subpoena issue, Sash is wrong as the Grand Jury had every right to call eyewitnesses to question them about events, their prior written statements, and their deposition testimony. If the eyewitnesses are asked questions the answer to which may incriminate them, they then invoke their Fifth Amendment right like every other citizen, but they are not entitled to not be called at all. The AG's office interfered (obstructed) the Grand Jury's rights to fully investigate acts in the county by not allowing the Grand Jury to subpoena these eyewitnesses.

sash

You really should read some court decisions. State Courts, Federal Appeals Courts and the U.S. Supreme Court all disagree with you.

Florence Nightingale

Somebody always cracks in a cover-up. I'm a little too young for the details of Watergate, but I'm pretty sure they didn't get away with it for seven years.

Babo

Only because there was pressure form outside sources such as the press and special prosecutors with integrity. If this case had gotten the exposure that it should have received form the press within a year or two of the acts and a special prosecutor of integrity appointed, somebody would have cracked IF there was a cover up. Unfortunately because the eyewitnesses were not subject to questioning and given the opportunity to "crack" if in fact there was a coverup, we don't know and the Burdines and their supporters can continue to legitimately criticize the process.

Florence Nightingale

Who decides if a prosecutor is of integrity?

Matt Westerhold

Thanks Florence. Being deposed three years after he died in civil litigation is not the same as being questioned in the course of a timely and appropriate criminal investigation. Having depositions and not be afforded the opportunity to ask additional questions is not the same.  

Florence Nightingale

I doubt they'd remember anything more clearly after seven years, then. I agree with you that an investigation should have been done right away, even though I think the results might have been the same. To me, that's the real problem. But because an investigation was delayed does not automatically mean a murder was committed.

Julie R.

I think it's way past time for OHIO to get rid of grand juries. After all, it's not like people don't know a grand jury is nothing more than "window dressing" for the prosecutor, i.e. selective prosecution.

Take for example a recent case in Erie County. According to an article in the paper, some woman from Perkins Township was indicted by an Erie County grand jury for allegedly forging the probate court judge Beverly McGookey's signature on some document faxed to an attorney and it was based on a Staples video showing the woman faxing documents. (?) Duh, excuse me but proof of forgery is a video showing somebody faxing documents? Must have had some real sweethearts on THAT grand jury.

Come to think of it, I could get called to sit on a grand jury. If one of the cases was about forgery, I would have to say ..."Ah, wait a minute here, Mr. Baxter. According to my brother, you said forgery of my mother's signature on a ton of fraud documents wasn't a criminal matter, it was a civil matter and had to be handled by the probate court."

(Scratch what I said about getting rid of grand juries. This is going to be fun!)

Sal Dali

Grand juries are supposed to determine if there is enough probable cause to prosecute someone. If all the players do not show up, they are not getting the full picture of the alleged crime. Why didn't the AG's prosecutor subpoena those directly involved is still the question. The prosecutor basically runs the show, defense attorneys cannot be inside the courtroom with a grand jury. Under normal circumstances, if a person is subpoenaed and doesn't show up, they are found in contempt of court and jailed. If one pleads the Fifth, they can be granted immunity by the prosecutor, which takes away the right of remaining silent. Other states have it written into their Code of Criminal Procedure that witnesses must give testimony when subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury and the consequences for not doing so are clearly laid out. Does Ohio not have such stipulations? It may be the State's job to prove guilt, but are you saying they aren't suppose to subpoena witnesses sash? That would be sort of be like having a crowd witness to a murder and everyone saying they didn't see a thing and no witnesses being summoned to testify...sort of like this situation but a crowd of paid public servants instead of ordinary citizens. Ordinary citizens expect more from those who are paid to protect and serve. As for the subpoena getting quashed...would would have had the power to that in this case with a grand jury, the prosecutor or a judge?

sash

There is a world of difference between being a mere witness and being the subject of a criminal investigation. One is at risk of criminal charges and is entitled to all Constitutional protection.

Babo

Again, a grand jury investigation is analogous to a police investigation. Just as the police may invite eyewitnesses to an event in for questioning, so may the Grand Jury. In both instances the person invokes the Fifth Amendment when the answer to a question may incriminate them.

In this case, nobody knew if a crime was committed as there had been no prior criminal investigation into the in custody death of Craig Burdine. So you can not state that anybody was a target.

The purpose of this Grand Jury investigation was to investigate and determine the facts of that in custody death, and any competent investigation would require questioning the eye witnesses to the events rather than improperly relying on prior written statements and deposition testimony. The Grand Jury was entitled to hear the "Best Evidence" which is oral testimony from eyewitnesses. In fact IMO, the Prosecutor had no right to provide the grand jury with the prior written statements or deposition testimony when the authors of those statements and the deponents were available to testify. The fact that he did demonstrates an intent to interfere with Grand Jury investigation.

@ Sal Dali: The Grand jury has the right to issue subpoenas to witnesses to further its duty under the law to investigate/inquire into potential criminal acts in the county. However, prosecutors will sometimes try to control the Grand Jury by not informing them that the Grand Jury has that right. The Grand Jury is superior to the prosecutor, in fact it's superior to the Judge and every other office in the county as it can investigate and indict anybody. It was set up in part to protect the people from government misconduct, which is why government officers will often try to improperly limit it.

sash

No.

Babo

OK, How and why did the prosecutor enter written statements of eyewitnesses and deposition testimony of eyewitnesses if the events described therein were not relevant?

Sal Dali

@ sash and Babo...thank you both. Is there a way to find out if the grand jury was informed of their right to subpoena witnesses in addition to reading their prior statements/depositions? Sash I don't think all eyewitnesses were targets. Surely, one or two people that were eyewitnesses could have been called in and given immunity for their testimony if a cover-up conspiracy was on the agenda. Viewing the Burdine video, it appears there were several people that did not enter the room where Burdine was carried into; a couple officers/dispatchers are standing outside of that room in clear view of the cameras watching the entire event. Sorry to ask so many questions but IMO, it seems absurd that no eyewitnesses to this were called.

sash

The Grand Jury report didn't say it specifically, but they referenced the witnesses they were able to call so I assume they were informed that they would be unable to subpoena the LE there that night. Despite Babo's opinion on the Grand Jury's authority, the law is very clear that they are an arm of the government and must abide by the same law and restrictions that prosecutors and courts do. Everyone there that night would be criminally culpable if there was a crime committed that night because even if they were not directly involved, they would have been part of the cover up. They all exercised their 5th Amendment protection by declining to answer investigators questions and indicating they would not cooperate with the investigation. To compel any of the witnesses to appear would have required a proffer to the court compelling enough to "trump" their 5th Amendment protection and that is a very, very rare occurrence. We don't know if anyone was offered immunity to testify. There's a possibility that immunity was offered and rejected because they either didn't see or take part in anything requiring immunity, or realized that even if there was an indictment there was no evidence to support a conviction. Also, the offer of immunity can't be used as an either/or proposition to compel testimony. They couldn't make an offer of immunity for testimony OR they would be compelled to plead the 5th in front of the GJ. There is always the danger that immunity will backfire too if offered to the wrong person or if they point to one person and at trial five people point to them. They normally have to be very sure of who they are trying to convict before they'll start tossing out immunity offers. The witness/target line isn't as simple as a prosecutor zeroing in on a target and everyone else is in the clear as a witness. The Supreme Court in Ohio v Reiner found that the witness was wrongfully denied her 5th Amendment protection despite the fact that the prosecutor had claimed she was not a suspect or facing criminal charges. The Court found that she had reasonable cause to fear answering because of accusations, not by the state, but from outside sources. I understand people are frustrated, but you also need to keep in mind what would happen in the criminal trial if there would have been an indictment. You cannot compel a defendant to testify at trial and any testimony they were forced to make before a Grand Jury would be inadmissible. Grand Jury's have more leeway in that they can use hearsay evidence in the indictment process, but that evidence would also be inadmissible in trial. What case, what evidence would the state have to get a conviction when they can't use hearsay or force testimony?

Babo

You obviously have a vested interest in protecting LE misconduct in this matter and no desire to present to the community even the appearance of a proper and thorough investigation so as to ensure the community of the integrity of legal proceedings.

Here's the link to the STATUTORY LAW governing Grand Juries in Ohio. Please note that the Grand Jury does have the right to issue its own subpoenas independent of the prosecutor; that it can INVESTIGATE acts in the county and request witnesses necessary to that end; and that the Rules of Conduct governing lawyers and judges do not apply to the Grand Jury as their duties are defined by statute and not rules limited to the profession of law.

http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2939

sash

Of course they issue subpoenas, through the court. They have no power on their own to issue or enforce any subpoena. They do not operate in a black hole outside the laws of the State and the U.S. Constitution. They can do nothing that will violate constitutional rights. I have no vested interest in anything other than informed opinions, rather than emotional hysteria. The Grand Jury you envision would be nothing more than a vigilante group able to trample citizens rights on a whim and answerable to no one. No Grand Jury, whether State or Federal, gets to toss the Constitution.

Babo

No, you are seriously misstating the law as decided by SCOTUS and intentionally misleading people. The only reason somebody would do that is if they have a vested interest in protecting malfeasance in public office and or abuse of the legal system to advance some nefarious agenda.

The Grand Jury isn't "tossing the Constitution" as it is a body created under the Constitution with certain powers that can not be contained by lesser offices such as prosecutors and judges. The Grand Jury must honor the Fifth Amendment only AFTER a person CALLED invokes that right, there is no right to AVOID appearing before the Grand Jury and answering their questions relevant to the investigation that do not incriminate the witness.

Please read US v. Mandujano 425 US 564 (1976) the case you cited which clearly states the Grand Jury may subpoena witnesses relevant to the investigation and the witness must invoke. Your legal reading comprehension skills are either very poor or you are intentionally misrepresenting the law, an action that ought to get you in serious trouble in a courtroom or at the least with the lawyer who supervises you.

sash

Seriously Baba? Nefarious agenda? Are you going to pull out a Nazi comparison next? I've told you before I have no ties to LE or the legal community, but as usual you ignore what you don't like. You made broad statements on the unlimited power of a Grand Jury and then change the argument mid-argument. I was giving examples of broad judicial reasoning that explains the limits to Grand Jury authority, because you've argued that there is no constraint or limit on what a GJ can do. I never said that they don't have broad powers, but that they are constrained by the Constitution. Anyone can cherry pick select passages in a specific case to support your argument, but the underlying argument was whether there were limits to the GJ's power and the courts have been consistent in those decisions. " The grand jury's authority to compel testimony is not, of course, without limits. The same Amendment that establishes the grand jury also guarantees that "no person . . . shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself . . . ." The duty to give evidence to a grand jury is therefore conditional; every person owes society his testimony, unless some recognized privilege is asserted."(US v Mandujano)Broad powers, but not unlimited. Any witness can file a motion to quash the subpoena based on 5th Amendment protection before an appearance to the GJ. The presiding Judge would decide if their claim of privilege is valid in whole, or in part. If the judge decides their claim of privilege is valid, their testimony can not be compelled unless they are given immunity.
You expound on the investigative power of the Grand Jury, but ignore the original purpose. The Grand Jury is supposed to be the shield between the citizenry and unjust accusation by the State, not another Star Chamber. I find it highly ironic that you constantly accuse me of somehow being in cahoots with the State when it is my healthy fear of, and respect for, the power of the government that makes me fight to protect everyone's rights. Any individual facing the might of the State requires every protection available under the Constitution to have any chance of due process or justice. And yes, that means protecting the rights of the unlikable or unpopular defendants. If you stand back and allow the State to chip away at their rights and protections, then those protections are lost to all citizens and the power of the State is unrestrained. You assert that a Grand Jury is not bound by ethics like a prosecutor and for the sake of argument I'll let that stand. I would argue though that any government body with such broad powers should be held to the highest ethical standards, not the lowest, unless we want a modern Star Chambers and unrestrained persecution.

Babo

God help us if you're an example of a person that is considered to be educated and to possess critical thinking skills.

You state that you have no ties to LE or the legal community. In other words you have no training to interpret legal cases and this explains your inability to comprehend the case law precedent and perform fundamental legal analysis.

For example, you cite US v Mandujano for the broad legal principle that every one owes a duty to give testimony subject to recognizable privileges, but you have no understanding of what it means to assert a "recognized privilege".

One cannot assert a recognized privilege unless one is summoned before the Grand Jury to assert it either in person (right against self incrimination) or through a motion to quash (very limited immunities such as speech and debate clause, attorney client, spousal privilege). One can not assert a privilege in advance of a Grand Jury investigation into events to which one is an eyewitness but must appear before the Grand Jury to answer any questions and only assert it if one is asked an incriminating question.

You make this legally ridiculous statement: " Any witness can file a motion to quash the subpoena based on 5th Amendment protection before an appearance to the GJ. The presiding Judge would decide if their claim of privilege is valid in whole, or in part. If the judge decides their claim of privilege is valid, their testimony can not be compelled unless they are given immunity."

You are absolutely wrong and you can't produce a single case or statute that states anybody can object to a Grand Jury subpoena in advance of questioning on the Fifth Amendment incrimination clause. Every case you cited does not state this but the opposite to wit: The witness must appear and answer questions up until he or she invokes the right to not incriminate themselves.

Next, you twist the purpose of the Grand Jury which as you state is supposed to serve to protect the citizenry from unjust accusation by the GOVERNMENT (a serious form of government misconduct or abuse of power); but ignore the fact the Grand Jury also serves as the investigating body into GOVERNMENT misconduct and abuse. The Grand Jury is not the GOVERNMENT it is the PEOPLE and it was the GOVERNMENT that was supposed to be investigated by the PEOPLE of the Grand Jury in the Craig Burdine case.

However, due to your and like minded people's ignorance of the law, the GOVERNMENT was able to co-opt the power from the PEOPLE to enable GOVERNMENT employees to remain ABOVE THE LAW. How can you rationally compare GOVERNMENT employees to unlikeable or unpopular people such as civil rights activists or protestors who take up unpopular causes such as police excessive force issues and allow them to abuse their positions to render themselves ABOVE THE LAW.

The Grand Jury is not a government body but of the PEOPLE and it exists to ensure NOBODY including Government employees are ABOVE THE LAW. Again, God help us because you are advocating for a police state and for whatever reason are blind to it.

Babo

In follow up to my comment above, SCOTUS plainly stated in U.S. v. John H. Williams 540 US 36 (1992) yet another case you grossly distorted that: 1) the Grand Jury is a constitutional body independent of the court and prosecutor (See III A); 2) that the Grand Jury has the right to call anybody to testify before it to fulfill its duties; 3) that the grand jury is not bound by rules governing prosecutors; and 4) a subpoena for witness testimony will be quashed only if the testimony sought violates a fundamental immunity such as the speech debate clause.

Here's the link: http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct...
Focus on Section III. A.